When Your Child Comes Out

Gay Pride Locker Photo Credit Benjamin Wheelock

There are many Christian families who dread the possibility of having a gay or homosexual child. There have been many stories of parents beating or kicking their gay children out of the home after they’ve “come out.” The movie, Pariah, tells the story of how one African-American lesbian navigated revealing to her parents she was gay. However, what do you do if your son or daughter comes out? How should a Christian parent respond? Let’s look at some scriptures to formulate how we should respond.

However, let me begin by saying beating someone over the head with scriptures almost never results in a desired outcome. If you’ve raised your child as a Christian and in church, then there’s a high probability that they already know what the Bible says about homosexuality.

Respond with grace.

Oftentimes, Christians respond to homosexuality as if it’s the unpardonable sin. You may not have struggled with your sexual identity, but you struggled with lust, unforgiveness, gossip, lying, cheating, gluttony, greed, fornication, and the list can go on and on. We’re all sinners in need of God’s grace (Romans 3:23). You should extend the same grace God extends to you to your child. I don’t know about you, but it took years for me to finally submit my life to Christ and leave a sinful life. I still fall daily. Where would I be if my parents and God hadn’t dealt with me with grace?

In John 8:1-11, the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery. Her sin was punishable by death according to Jewish law. However, Jesus does not condemn her. He simply said, “Go and sin no more” and extended to her grace. We should respond in similar fashion.

Respond with love.

We say and post this all of the time, but God is love. He gives us time and grace to turn our lives over to Him because He loves us. 2 Peter 3:9 says,

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (NIV)

Salvation and sanctification is a process. It may take years before your child grows into the person God called them to be. After God called me, I realized God had been beckoning me for years. He orchestrated people, places, and events to soften my heart so I would turn my life over to Him. He may be doing the same with your child. Have faith that God has a purpose and a plan and that He’s orchestrating things so your child will come to know Him.

Also, oftentimes when people speak against homosexuality, then quote all of the laws in Leviticus condemning it. However, in Matthew 22:34-40, Jesus says that the greatest of all of these laws is to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. There are no conditions to that love in His statement. It doesn’t say, “Love them if they are sinless” or “Love them if they do everything right.” You can love your child without agreeing with their lifestyle or sexual orientation.

The issue of homosexuality rouses many people’s emotions. However, before you condemn your child or someone else to hell, let us first take heed of Jesus’ warning in Matthew 7:5, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

The Apostle Paul told us:

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

And while this passage refers to the Armor of God and warring on our behalf, we can also apply it to the situations we pray for. If you have ministered to your child all you can, when you have prayed all that God has led you to pray for the situation, then stand therefore in faith, trusting that God will perfect that which concerns your child (Psalm 138:8). Be encouraged!

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:11 ESV)

Lauren Jones (@revlaurelj) is an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and serves in the Columbia, SC metropolitan area. As a widow, she balances ministry and motherhood to two rambunctious children. She blogs about her adventures at www.throwupandtheology.com. When she’s not preaching, writing, or changing diapers, she raises awareness about epilepsy and the devastating effects of drunk driving as a volunteer speaker for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). She self-published “I’m Singing This Song to You,” a letter to her children in honor of her late husband available for purchase on Amazon.

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